JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Who lived in the shetls? #general

Roger Lustig <trovato@...>

Dear Tereasa:

There's only one silly question: the one you don't ask.

As far as I can tell, the ShtetlSeeker is a directory of every town,
village, and wide place in the road in all those countries. A
gazetteer, really.

There were some villages populated entirely or almost entirely by Jews,
but those were not the rule everywhere. In Poland and elsewhere, it
could be that there were only one or two Jewish families in a village.
In many cases one of these was the local innkeeper. The feudal lords
had a monopoly on acohol sale and production, and would license taverns,
etc. The licensee would pay a certain amount for the right to make or
sell beer or booze, and could keep the rest. Jews were often preferred
as license-holders, not least because they could generally read, write,
and keep accounts. Also, they were socially not part of the community,
which made it easier for them to keep a more, um, professional
relationship with their customers. (And when it was time for a
temperance drive, they made excellent scapegoats...)

Good luck!

Roger Lustig
Descendant of more than one of those "Arrendators"

John and Tereasa Lenius wrote:

Perhaps this is a silly question, but, did only Jews live in the Shetls
found using the Shetl seeker? I know that my Great grandfather and all of
his brothers were born in a Nowa Wies (which one I don't know). I know
absolutely nothing about these villages. Also, I would like to thank all of
you who have answered my previous message. It is wonderful to know that
people are willing to help. Thank you again.

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